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Album Review

Aron Namenwirth / Daniel Carter / Joe Hertenstein / Zach Swanson: Live At The Bushwick Series


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Aron Namenwirth / Daniel Carter / Joe Hertenstein / Zach Swanson: Live At The Bushwick Series
This instalment of the Live At The Bushwick Series offers a communiqué from the front line of free jazz in New York City. It's the sort of below the radar activity which is rarely documented, but nonetheless deserves to be heard. In this particular case, it's also part of an ongoing event, curated by saxophonist and label boss Stephen Gauci, which happens downstairs every Monday night in Brooklyn's Bushwick Public House. Guitarist Aron Namenwirth and trumpeter and reedman Daniel Carter are frequent participants in a variety of settings, but here they are joined by bassist Zachary Swanson and drummer Joe Hertenstein, for six untitled improvisations in a program just shy of 40-minutes.

Namenwirth's approach to the guitar comprises intermittent strums, well-placed chords and incisive single string runs, all delivered in an attractive ringing tone. His bare bones style allows space and air for the absorbing interplay between Swanson and Hertenstein to shine. Swanson's forceful counterpoint and inspired bowing are one of the big pluses of this date and his exchanges with the novel textures and percussive clatter which emanate from Hertenstein's hybrid kit elevate this session beyond the ordinary.

Carter, an elder statesman of this scene, following his days with bands like TEST and Other Dimensions In Music, toggles between meditative musings and more angular excursions, often with blues-tinged inflections which speaks of his deep roots. Although Carter often provides the main focus, beginning five out of the six tracks, the ensemble cut and thrust between the four pleases in its own right. Some of the conflagrations between saxophone and guitar are especially appealing, as on "Improvisation 3" where Carter's waspish soprano glints against Namenwirth's chiming guitar.

Carter also enjoys a notable rapport with Swanson, and the passage on "Improvisation 2" where the band fall away to leave his tenor and the bassist's arco in grave colloquy is one of the high points. The most animated moments arrive on the final "Improvisation 6," where Carter's squalling alto falsetto spirals above the throb of bass, drums and guitar, before a cooling lyrical coda of unaccompanied saxophone.

Although not an overriding consideration, if there is one thing that could be improved it's the sometimes too abrupt editing and fade outs between the cuts.

Track Listing

Improvisation 1; Improvisation 2; Improvisation 3; Improvisation 4; Improvisation 5; Improvisation 6.


Aron Namenwirth: guitar; Daniel Carter: saxophone; Joe Hertenstein: drums; Zachary Swanson: bass.

Album information

Title: Live At The Bushwick Series | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Gaucimusic

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